This month's Artful Readers Club book is a factual book describing the state of the military during the years 1650 - 1790.
An odd choice you may think but I have to confess to being a bit of an anorak concerning military matters, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. This book, however, introduced me to a period of history I knew very little about and one that was left untouched by my school education. In short, I learned something new!
The Age of Reason was a cultural movement of intellectuals in 17th and 18th centuries which began first in Europe and later in the American colonies. Its purpose was to reform society using reason; challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith and advance knowledge by scientific method.
Unfortunately, apart from the Prussians, almost none of this philosophy applied to the military during this period. The armies of Europe were structured almost exclusively on wealth, privilege and noblesse oblige rather than ability, experience and knowledge. In fact, if you were high born, wealthy and well connected you could purchase the highest rank in the best regiment - experience in matters military not necessary. A good upbringing involving hunting, shooting and fox hunting was all that was considered necessary to become a high ranking army officer. Lower born or poorer officers were constantly passed over for promotion and consequently stagnated in the ranks causing great resentment. The experienced soldiers were generally the NCO's (non commissioned officers) and, particularly in the French army, were left to run things on a practical level in time of crisis. This had an impact when the French Revolution of 1789 took place as many of the very experienced battle-hardy NCO's took charge of civilian armies and rounded on their military grandees. Score: Peasants 1 - Fops 0.
The Prussians took a much more sensible approach to their armed forces by equipping them well, training them constantly and valuing their service. They also permitted personnel to be promoted by merit shown on the battlefield.
For my art piece this month, I have gone well out of my comfort zone, and painted a scene showing a Prussian Army regiment being directed into battle by a mounted officer wielding his sword. It is painted with acrylic paints onto acrylic paper.
In summary, I found this book extremely interesting, informative and easy to read. Well worth a look at if you are interested in military history.
Thank you for visiting and I do hope you will have a look at the lovely Darcy's blog and the other book reviews and wonderful artwork. Your kind comments are encouraging and much appreciated.